May 23 2012
Owning and operating a small business in today’s economy is no easy task. Small business owners wear more hats then ever, and many times find themselves having to make difficult decisions without all the necessary information at hand. One way to ensure that you are making the right decisions is to utilize your existing Board of Advisors.
A Small Business Owner’s Board of Advisors
I’m sure many of you are thinking, “I’m too small to have a board of advisors.” In reality whether you employ one person or one hundred, you already have a board of advisors in place but you’re likely not utilizing them to their full potential.
Whether or not you have an attorney on retainer, you likely had an attorney who filed the paperwork to form your business entity. When was the last time you spoke? It’s very likely that your business has changed since its inception. Consult with your attorney from time to time to review your policies, procedures, and business practices. Local, state, and federal laws are constantly changing and you need someone who is knowledgeable in these areas to identify potential risks and how they may impact your business both now and in the future.
Organizational structure and financial management are key components of any banking and lending relationship. Whether you have an existing banking relationship or are planning to establish one, you need to keep your banker abreast of changes to your business so they can help provide valuable guidance and possible solutions to financial challenges that may arise.
Many business owners get together with their CPA once a year when tax filing time rolls around, but your CPA can be a tremendous resource. Be sure to interact with him or her regularly throughout the year to truly understand the impact of financial decisions that you make in your business.
Your Insurance Agent
How recently have you reviewed your policies? No one likes to plan for worst-case scenarios, but there is nothing worse then finding out that you’re either not 100% covered or, worse, not covered at all when you’re faced with an unexpected business interruption or possible litigation. You’ve worked hard to build your personal and business assets and it’s wise to ensure that they are properly protected.
Decisions made today will have either a positive or negative impact on your business in the future. Introduce your board members to one another so they can appreciate how their advice may impact other facets of your business. It is wise to share your thoughts and ideas with your board, as formal or informal as it is, as they are exposed to hundreds of business situations each year and likely have come across similar situations to those that you may experience and may already have a viable solution for you.
Does your business have a Board of Advisors? What valuable advice have they given you about your business?